It has been a couple of very busy weeks down here in the greens department. Just six weeks ago we still had snow on the ground, and for the last two weeks it has felt like summer!
Over the past couple weeks we have been working hard to get the greens in excellent shape. We have given the greens their first granular fertilizer which gave a quick burst of growth, and some excellent green colour. And last week we did the first verticut, seeding and topdressing to make a firmer, faster, more consistent putting surface.
A comment we have been hearing recently is that during the first couple weeks of the season the greens were making fantastic progress and playing great, but recently the progress has slowed down a bit. There are many reasons for this, and they mostly have to do with the fantastic golfing weather we have been experiencing over the last two weeks. I will briefly outline two of the main factors:
1- The sudden change in temperatures startled the turf. In just a matter of days it seems like we went from a couple degrees above freezing, to mid-twenties celsius. After being dormant for the winter, the plant needs to be able to wake up, acclimatize to start to growing again, then start processing the nutrients we give it and become a healthy plant. Going from zero to one-hundred in just a matter of days really shocks the plant. The best way to describe this is going on vacation in the winter. You leave a -10C and snowy Tallinn and fly to warm, sunny Thailand where it is 26C and sunny. That sudden change in temperature will really shock your system and odds are you will feel quite terrible for the first day or two as your body adjusts to the new temperature. This is what the greens are going through right now.
2- No rain. Yes, we have been regularly watering our tees, greens and fairways, but the irrigation system is only meant to help you get through the dry times. There is absolutely no substitute for a nice, light, warm rain to help the grass grow. It has now been over two weeks without a drop of rain, and it appears to be several more days before any chance of rain.
To make a long story short, the greens are under a lot of stress right now. High temperatures, no rain and plenty of golfers enjoying the nice weather makes for difficult growing conditions.
Last week we also had our agronomist Ian Macmillan visit us for a day. He was very pleased with how our greens were looking relative to years past so early in the season. We looked at all the greens, and have put a program in place to help the greens become better, as well as help the roots grow deeper.
This week will be very busy for us as we prepare for the Anniversary Tournament on Friday, May 25th. We look forward to seeing you out on the course!